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Sep 25, 2015

Dionne's track to academic success


THANK YOU for your support of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC)! Because of you, BGCC is able to help youth like Dionne, a youth member of our Toronto Kiwanis Club, achieve their academic goals. As a result of the support provided by Boys and Girls Clubs – and a grade 10 scholarship Dionne received – she has just finished her first year of college and is excited to now be giving back to support other kids.


“Getting a laptop in Grade 10 was the biggest burden off me. We didn’t have a computer at home and having it really made a big difference for me.”

As Dionne begins her second year in Humber College’s Child and Youth Care program, she shares that the Best Buy Grade 10 Scholarship helped her do well in high school because she could stop worrying about how she’d afford a post-secondary education.

“Getting that computer and knowing I had first my year’s tuition locked down two years in advance was the beginning of so many good opportunities. Many doors have since opened for me.”

In partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, Best Buy Canada awards Grade 10 scholarships in a 3-step program designed to help students see post-secondary education as an achievable goal when thinking about life after high school. Dionne received a $750 Best Buy gift card to purchase a laptop in Grade 10 and then $250 in Grade 12 to help pay for post-secondary application fees. When she started college last year, the scholarship paid $4,000 to her selected college for tuition and expenses.

She says she chose child and youth work after learning about mentoring and leadership through her involvement at the Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club, where she’s been a member since the young age of 5. “My older brother worked as a leader at the Boys and Girls Club. When I saw the connections he made with the kids, I said, ‘I want to be like that. I want people to look up to me, too.’”

Having recently completed her training, Dionne is excited to begin working in the Club’s after-school program three days a week, while also attending to her full second-year course load at Humber. More than anything, she’s looking forward to her internship with a community service agency where she’ll be working with youth seeking support in shelters. Of her future, Dionne says: “I want to focus my career on youth — like helping kids post-incarceration get back on their feet and find the right path.”

With a clear handle on how to make her dream of education come true, Dionne is focused on her future prospects and dreams. After initially receiving the Best Buy scholarship, she has gone on to earn an 80% average during her first year’s studies, as well as other scholarships. She expects to have all of her tuition costs covered until the completion of her course of study.

Of her experiences to date, Dionne summarizes with a confident smile “It was a lot of work and so different from high school. But I am good at time management and I love the challenges.”


What do you think? Are you interested in more information about how you can support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada? Please get in touch with me at or 1-844-477-7272 x232

Sep 22, 2015

A Chance to Lead


THANK YOU for your support of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada!!  Because of you, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is able to provide opportunities for youth like Doug. Doug is a member of our National Youth Council, which provides opportunities to youth from across Canada – enabling them to gain new skills and build confidence through leadership opportunities.

See below for Doug’s story about his participation in this year’s National Youth Conference in Winnipeg, MB – and how Boys and Girls Clubs are helping youth find achieve their full potential.


A beautiful thing happened on the campus of the University of Manitoba in May. Two hundred young people from all over the country gathered to fuse cultures and learn from one another. As a member of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada’s  National Youth Council, I was one of the group responsible for developing the themes and executing workshops for the Fusion 2015 youth forum. This was an amazing opportunity—being a part of the youth council has been the greatest thing ever!

I organized a workshop to teach kids how to find a voice using tie-dye. In the 1970s, teenagers used tie-dye as a form of artistic expression and rebellion, but I chose tie-dye mainly because it was relevant to me. In a way, I never really had a voice until I discovered it. When I was younger I was shy, but after I walked into a shop and bought a tie-dye shirt, things changed for me. That shirt gave me confidence. I decided to learn how to make them.  The workshop at this year’s conference ended up being amazing . . . everyone was extremely engaged and very knowledgeable about social situations happening in the world, like the #blacklivesmatter campaign. I got everyone to brainstorm ideas and write down things that they had seen on the news.

The conference focused on what youth are doing today to make Canada a more inclusive place. We were a group of people from diverse backgrounds and yet we were similar.  Like putting on my first tie-dye shirt, attending Fusion 2015 and being a part of the National Youth Council has changed me.  After meeting everyone and hanging out, I started to get more comfortable with who I am. I started to realize that anything and everything is possible! Being given  responsibility is a proving ground for finding your potential. The Boys and Girls Club took a chance on me and gave me a chance to prove that I can lead. I have potential.

What do you think? Are you interested in more information about how you can support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada? Please get in touch – or 1-844-477-7272 x232.

Aug 14, 2015

Club campers love horsing around!

Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie
Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie

The days are getting shorter, the school year is quickly approaching, and summer camps are wrapping up. This summer, thousands of campers at Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada experienced what it is to be kids, while developing skills such as leadership, teamwork and self-confidence.

For many Canadians, the opportunity to attend summer camp is a defining part of a young person's life. For many families across Canada, they unfortunately cannot afford to provide this opportunity to their children. Some kids have never been outside the city, to enjoy a day in nature.

Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada operate summer camps - at low or no cost - where we provide opportunities for kids to experience their own childhood. Programs offered at camp - like Equine Assisted Learning - are helping kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie to become caring, responsible and motivated adults. See how we're making an impact in Airdrie, AB:

“We just started offering Equine Assisted Learning and the kids are so excited about it,” says Cassandra Clem, Director of Programs and Services at the Airdrie Club. 

Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is a form of experiential learning that involves group activities with horses and a trained facilitator. Cassandra, a certified EAL facilitator, runs the program along with another two-legged instructor and two four-legged instructors–Tucker and Arrow.

 “The horses are the teachers,” Cassandra explains. “You don’t need to know anything about horses. All of the learning is done on the ground.”

For the equine day camp, small groups of children and youth aged 9 to 14 work with horses to complete activities geared to enhance life skills in a fun and engaging way. 
“Horses use a lot of body language,” Cassandra says. “The kids learn to observe and figure out what the horse is telling them. Are the ears forward? The eyes soft? 

“Horses also mirror back what you are feeling, so the kids get instant feedback and become more self-aware. It’s really amazing to see,” she says.

In addition to Equine Assisted Learning, Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie camp programs include a wide range of offerings, from farm visits to learn about animals and farm life, to water slides and splash parks, to the dinosaur museum and the science centre in nearby Calgary.

For older youth and teens, the Airdrie Club has overnight wilderness camps with hiking, horseback riding, paddle boarding and white water rafting.

Boys and Girls Club summer camps give young people a chance to try new things and develop special interests, from the performing arts to sports and from computer programming to Lego camp. Camp staff are trained facilitators who focus on developing self-esteem and feelings of belonging among the campers. 

Club camps are also popular with parents because the programs are designed to promote their children’s health and well-being. Day camps provide healthy meals and snacks and, like all Boys and Girls Club offerings, family income is never a barrier to participation.
THANK YOU for your support of summer camps at Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada!
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